Yields appear promising | Combined with a good crop in India, pea prices could fall
Saskatchewan farmers will harvest a big pea crop this year if they avoid a fall frost.
“I think we’re looking at at least an average if not above average (crop) at this point,” said Daphne Cruise, regional crop specialist with Saskatchewan Agriculture.
Other analysts were more enthused about crop prospects.
“I’ve seen the best pea crops of my life this year,” said Larry Weber in his July 26 Pulse Buddy publication.
Weber warned growers to brace for falling pea prices given the production potential of the Canadian crop and good growing conditions in India.
Indian farmers recently harvested a record 8.88 million tonnes of chickpeas, up over one million tonnes from the previous year. Canadian yellow peas are sold as a substitute for chickpeas in India.
Prospects are also terrific for India’s kharif or summer crops. Monsoon rains for the June 1 to Aug. 8 period were 14 percent above normal with many key pulse grower states reporting excess rain. Some areas are reporting too much rain, which is drowning out some crops.
Sowing of kharif pulse crops is 26 percent ahead of last year’s pace.
Weber noted that chickpea prices in India have been tumbling in response to the big rabi crop and good kharif pulse prospects. He worries about a similar price response in Canada.
“If you have not already, start determining your cash flow requirements for late August and September today and book some product before it too heads south,” was the advice he gave to his readers.
Corey Loessin, a farmer from Radisson, Sask., said his pea crops should yield more than the typical 35 to 40 bushels per acre.
“I’d be disappointed if they went anything less than 40. I think there’s potential for it to be higher than that,” he said.
“It’s shaping up to be an above average yield.”
Loessin said it is difficult to comment on other pea crops in his region of the province because there are none.
“There’s no question they’re way down in our area here, to almost none.”
Growers dropped the crop due to disappointing yields in 2012. Northwestern Saskatchewan was hit hard by aphanomyces, a new disease in peas.
Loessin said pea production appears to be migrating south. He has heard there are plenty of peas in areas like Swift Current this year.
Cruise, who works in Moose Jaw, confirmed that suspicion.
“In the southern half here and central parts there seems to be quite a bit of peas, especially this year I’m noticing.”
Statistics Canada estimates growers planted 3.37 million acres of peas, which is about the same size as last year’s crop.
Agriculture Canada’s July forecast calls for 3.1 million tonnes of production based on a trend line yield of 34.7 bushels per acre. A new estimate will be published early this week, which is past The Western Producer’s publication deadline.
Production is shaping up to be higher than the 3.1 million tonnes as long as the weather co-operates.
“A frost before Sept. 10 would have a huge impact,” said Loessin.